Paul Cairney reviews Graham Room’s Agile Actors on Complex Terrains (Routledge, 2016). Paul is guest editor of our 2018 special issue: Practical Lessons on Policy Theories
Some background context on complexity theory
If used wisely, complexity theory has the potential to make a great contribution to the study of politics and policymaking. It offers a way to think about, and visualise, the interaction between many actors, following many rules, to produce outcomes that we can relate to the properties of complex systems. Continue reading
William L. Swann and Seo Young Kim
Whether protecting a watershed, recovering from a natural disaster, or facilitating international trade, governments often need to collaborate to achieve policy goals. But resolving complex problems across fragmented jurisdictional landscapes involves overcoming significant collective action barriers.
Governments, like individuals, have an incentive to free ride on collective efforts and obtain benefits without contributing to the costs of public goods. For example, all governments in a region benefit from air pollution mitigation, but each government has an incentive to enjoy cleaner air without making the sacrifices to produce it. Continue reading